Austal Ships announced details of the propulsion system selected for the 126.7m cargo-vehicle-passenger trimaran Auto Express, currently under construction for a Spanish ferry operator. The ferry provides capacity for 1,350 passengers, over 340 cars and more than 400 freight lane-meters. It will feature a quadruple diesel engine main machinery package coupled to a trio of waterjets. This will enable it achieve speed in excess of 40 knots fully loaded.
MTU will supply four 20V 8000 diesels, each rated to 8,200kW but with the agreement to increase their output to 9,100kW during the first quarter of 2006.
The engines are arranged in two separate engine rooms in the trimaranís central hull. Those in the aft engine room will each drive a Kamewa 125 SII steerable waterjet from Rolls-Royce, while the two forward engines deliver their combined power to a Kamewa 180 BII booster waterjet. Each of the three drive lines features Renk transmissions, with lightweight composite shafts fitted between the waterjets and gearboxes and on the output shaft of the forward most engine.
Harbour manoeuvring, an important consideration for this vessel, will be assisted by two Ulstein Aquamaster UL601 azimuthing bow thrusters from Rolls-Royce. The ability to synchronise the thruster and waterjet control systems will give the captain maximum control to ensure fast, efficient and safe operation in port. Once in open water the electrically driven thrusters are retracted into the hull to reduce drag and thus maximise speed and efficiency. The shipís electrical load will be met by three MTU 12V 2000 diesel generator sets.